The Path of Evil

Dir: Brad Goodman
Star: Justin Ament, Ryan Deal, Carrie Finklea, Don Alder

The problem here is simple: over-familiar subject matter. Anyone who has seen more than about three horror movies, will quickly find themselves saying the characters' dialogue for them, half a beat before their lips move, and the only genuine surprises this film has to offer are less surprises than cheats. The town of Devil's Lake relaxes, after the man responsible for a two-decade reign of terror is brought to justice...until the killings begin again. Who is involved? Is it local deputy Jake Barker (Ament), whose parents were among the early victims, and who is still plagued by nightmares? Perhaps the nasty temper of medical examiner McKinley (Deal) hides a dark secret? Or is there another, unknown psycho out there?

It's apparently a sequel to an earlier film, Harvest of Fear, but any failure to have seen that probably won't affect your enjoyment much. The genre aspects are not very effectively-handled at all: the director seems to think that noises off and a masked killer, fleetingly glimpsed behind his victims, have never been done before. He's wildly wrong there, and as a consequence, the results are uninspired. It doesn't help that the same cliches are repeated and drawn out over almost two hours - any slasher pic that's longer than 90 minutes had better have a good reason, and this one doesn't. The dramatic angles are better handled, and the small-town characters are not badly drawn or acted. However, after the "shocking" finale, you'll probably be left feeling that there were more interesting tales from Devil's Lake to be told than this one.

[This film is released in the US on December 27th, in widescreen, with storyboards and an interview with the FX artist. For more information, visit MTI's website.]

December 2005

The path is apparently
somewhat long and meandering...
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